The Indian High Commission in Pakistan on Thursday budged the Islamabad High Court for the liberation of four Indian nationals sent down by military courts on indictments of suspected espionage, and who linger behind bars or incarcerated long after they had put the last touches on their sentence — in one case, more than 13 years ago. The four men are Birju Dung Dung, Vigyan Kumar, Satish Bhog and Sonu Singh. The first three are in Central Jail Lahore, and the fourth in District Prison (Malir) Karachi. On the word of the petition, Dung Dung’s sentence ended in April 2007, Singh’s in March 2012, Kumar’s in June 2014 and Bhog’s in May 2015. The respondents are the Ministries of Interior and Foreign Affairs of Pakistan.
The petition comes about for consideration on Friday before Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani. The petition asks for their emancipation “in the interest of justice, fair play and equality”. It solicits the court to pronounce their detention, after the finishing point of their sentences, as “illegal, unlawful, unprecedented, result of colourable exercise of authority, based on malafide, abuse of process of law” and “amount[ing] to illegal detention” under the Constitution of Pakistan. The petition, filed under Article 199 of the Pakistan Constitution, vehemently exclaims that the detainees were taken into custody by Pakistani authorities, and arraigned and condemned by military courts under Section 59 of the Pakistan Army Act, which is the segment on “civil offences” brought into play for the espionage-allied allegation, and under specifications of its Official Secrets Act.
The petition as well avows that the said men had not perpetrated any offence and were fatalities of “abuse of law” from their seizure to sentence. It calls upon the right to life and liberty under Pakistan’s Constitution, and affirms that the prisoners are being dispossessed of justifiable entitlements attributable to “extraneous considerations and severe background of hostility”. It also utters that the High Commission acquainted with several notes out loud (diplomatic communiqué) to Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the discharge and extradition of those four men, but to no purpose.